where has all the innocence gone?

when i was a little boy, i was very curious about the world and what it was, who was in it and where it could take you. I would daydream for hours about the different things that could happen in a lifetime.

one day i would be a top-5 basketball recruit on a straight path to the nba. the next day i was the next willie mays … a blast from the past baseball player who could do it all and do it with a smile the size of lake michigan. another day i was a world-traveler solving crimes like the hardy boys and busting up criminals like the dukes of hazzard while driving a van like the one the a-team drove.

i had a crazy imagination.

i think part of this curiosity came from the incessant reading i did as a kid.

i read everything

hardy boys to henry huggins to biographies about the great American heroes. Books about sports figures and Bible heroes and I would even memorize stats about athletes from the 400-page sports encyclopedia-like book my mom bought me.

books have a way of creating this imaginary world in a kid like me.

as I grew older, my curiosity about the world got stronger, but one thing that stood the test was my belief that people were inherently good.  i really believed the best about people. some of you who know me best probably laugh a bit at that, but it’s true. I always believed the best and thought that everyone would think the best about me.

i never realized that sometimes, people don’t have the same perspective. so now, in my early thirties, I have been struck by this new emotion the last couple of years.


when i was a kid, i could never have imagined that i would ever be disappointed in other christians. i never thought that my favorite sports athletes would let me down. i never thought that a local politician that i know personally and has helped me out in the past, could be considered a bigot and a racist yet shake my hand.

it never crossed my mind that people in positions of authority would take advantage of others. that in a normal day we would hear about sex abuse cases and babies disappearing and domestic assaults on women and foot-stomping athletes.

i guess it just makes me wonder… where has all the innocence gone? i used to love my curiosity and my need to know what was going on in the world. i don’t want that to change. but i wonder what this world has truly come to. how did it happen and where do we go from here? i wish i had a cute solution wrapped in a bow that made us all feel better.

i’m not sure a solution wrapped in a bow is attainable… but i would like to hope that there are still kids growing up with the same curiosity that i did.

what’s the story?

do you ever get fed up with the media?

what about politicians?

oh! what about the media AND politicians??
you do?

yea me too…

it is getting kind of ridiculous is it not? politics in this country has spun so completely out of control it is mind-boggling. seriously.

this summer, President Obama visited a local town near where i live. Remember, the President is a Democrat visiting a very Republican and vastly conservative area. after the President’s visit, it became known that a local Republican representative was upset at not being invited to the President’s visit. he has been out-spoken in the past against the President so an invite was clearly not automatic.


It would be like me being mad I didn’t get invited to a co-worker’s birthday party, a co-worker i cannot stand and don’t agree with anything they said or did.

the other day i was watching Fox News in the breakroom at work, which is the only time i would ever watch Fox News. Anyway, they were talking about Democratic potentials for President. 

Yes. DEMOCRATIC  potentials.

Really Fox News?

They were throwing out a statistic of something like 66% of Democrats in this country would vote for President Obama vs. another Democrat. Followed by the statistic that 27% would like to see other candidates.

Just inciting the mob aren’t you, Fox News?

I’m not blind to that game. I know what you are doing. Using this “data” Fox News can now say… “SEE…now Democrats don’t even want to see President Obama run for re-election, I told you NO ONE likes him!”

(I wonder what the statistics were for President Bush in 2004 were. Hmmmm. anyway…)

I am not an unabashed follower of the Democratic Party. It doesn’t and shouldn’t matter to you what party I side with more anyway. But what bothers me is when politicians like the one i described above go to such lengths to try to discredit each other. The politician I was describing used the media to incite the masses about an event he had no interest in going to just to get people to think… “wow the President really is awful”… come on sir… you are better than that.

Fox News uses their platform to push their own agenda, and that is okay. they are allowed to do that. they make good money off of sponsors who want a certain message sent. CNN does it, MSNBC does it, CBS does it. It’s okay. No one is innocent here. But come on, when Fox News is trying to get Democrats to mix it up with each other, it just goes from news journalism to news sensationalism.

It’s too bad the news media dictates so much of our politics today and how we see it. It takes work just to dissect the real from the sensational.


A monumental day for our country, our troops and our leadership in the White House and Intelligence branches.

Congratulations to President Obama as well as President Bush and our military for holding firm and never giving up this fight against the tragedies of Terror.

Thank you to those who have dedicated their lives to keeping our nation secure. This is a monumental night for all Americans.

mysteries of life.

i admit.

there are some things i do not understand.

I do not understand how simple things such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be turned into a dream of crushing someone else to get what you want.

or how a melting pot can be stirred into a burning desire to build a wall to keep people out.

or how a segment of Americans can be so viciously opposed to one type of death (abortion) while cheering another type of death (war) and supporting yet another (capital punishment). when did we get to decide who dies and when?

it boggles my mind that a local politician, who claims to be a conservative and moral Christian, seeks to take funding away from programs that clothes children in low-income families. there is nothing moral about that. this politician claims to be a “public servant”yet hopes to deny his own constituents. where is the humanity there? 

it is a mystery to me that in West Michigan, where there are churches on almost every corner, the biggest of these churches seem to war with one another.

it is a strange and sad phenomenon that in trying to show a God that loves everything and everyone He ever created, a pastor is vilified for suggesting that there is actually hope for everyone.

i do not remember when Christianity became a members only club.

i admit, i do not understand.

i do not understand how a segment of Christianity can rail against all conventional theory regarding global warming, but in the same sentence can say that the earth is dying and it is their God-given responsibility to take care of it. isn’t the theory of global warming just a nice way of saying that the earth is in decay? if we already knew this was going to happen, why and who are we fighting?

there are many things i do not understand. these mysteries of life. i just wish there was not so much hatred and fear that captures so many people. just as that local pastor describes God’s love, he is besieged with hate from those who claim to have received that love. it is an unbelievable phenomenon. just as local politicians claim to be about the people, they cut funding that benefits the poorest and neediest of those people. many churches put up billboards and have signs stating that all are welcome. however when all show up, many feel anything but welcome. a sad cycle that continues down long roads with many twists and turns. is there any of this you understand? is there any of this that makes sense?

the streets are on fire

it’s all about the people. unless the people are the problem. it’s all about the people. unless the people get in the way.

right-wingers, left-wingers, tea-party activists and the Nader-ites. who is different from the other? one party says yes and the other says no just to spite the other.

Atheists, Christians and Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. What is your claim? We sit and clamor about right and wrong and tell each other how much better we are than them.

Christians vs. Christians

we cannot wait to get in the face of the other. My belief is better than your belief. My God is better than your God.

Meanwhile, the streets are on fire.

Do I really have to remind you?


Hurricane Katrina.

What about Darfur?

the AIDS epidemic.

The sex slave trade.

or the Tsunami that wiped out 250,000 men, women and children in Asia in 2005.

or Haiti last year?

now Japan.

and you want to argue politics? now? now is the time to argue about your belief being better than mine?

the streets are on fire. and you are concerned with being right? or more, you want me to be wrong?

what is the difference between religion and politics when both claim to be about the people but then deny the people the love and concern necessary for survival?

What is different about the religions of the world when they all claim to know God, but never stop to remember that God said He was in the people?The same people we fight with.

Christians cannot agree on global warming, “it’s a government money-making machine!” says one side, but forget that the God they say they serve commanded them to take special care of the world they say He gave them.

The issue at hand is the people. not politics or religion or why Al Gore claims the ice caps are melting.

The streets are on fire. The people are dying in them. and yes, the ice caps are melting. What are we going to do about our policies and beliefs and our opinions when the people are gone and no one is here to argue with?

The streets are on fire.


If there is one thing this nation needs to never stop learning is… to have a little respect for each other.

I realized this as I happened to be watching Fox News a few days ago. Now, I will try to spare you my personal opinion about Fox News, since most people know it leans without apologies towards one side of the political spectrum. I will however say, with true frustration and disappointment at its continued desire to refer to the President of the United States as Mr. Obama.

Yes… that is his name, except that… he is President Obama or Mr. President to you and me and to everyone around the world.

Maybe I am a little bit old school, but then again, when did having respect for positions of authority become old school?

I remember when I was younger, my parents emphatically relayed to me the proper means of referring to our authorities. My pastor’s name was not Mr. Hillman, he was Pastor Hillman. The dentist was not Mr. Arnold, he was Dr. Arnold.

the point of this is not to attack the content of the Fox News Channel. The beauty of America lies in our opportunity for personal choice. If you decide you prefer a certain news channel, a certain political party or McDonald’s over Burger King, you have that right. The issue lies in, a continued disregard for proper etiquette. Like I said, we get to choose who we follow and the beauty lies in having a choice.

However, choosing to disrespect our leaders in positions of authority is simply not okay.

we are adults and we should probably act the part.

We might not agree with the politics of our leaders. We live in a great nation that allows us that right. However, we certainly must show the decency to respect our authority. It is not okay to show disrespect. We are better than that.

one | divided

‘we’re one

but we’re not the same

will we hurt each other

then we do it again’ – one – U2



one world. one love. one people. one human race.


are we really united as one?

does it feel this way to you?



crimes against each other

political back stabbings and finger pointings

burning the religious teachings our ‘neighbors’ treasure

it really seems difficult to consider us ‘one’ these days.

we live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. why does it seem difficult to conceive the notion of us being a truly united nation? is this what the idea was? to conjure up an idea of constructing a wall to keep our neighbors out of our country? one nation we stand? oh well if you look like you might not be from here than we are going to need some identification to prove you belong here. that would make sense, if only there was such a thing as being one hundred percent American with no biological ties to other lands.


we are truly losing grasp on what America was built to be. once there was a time when we wanted to be considered a melting pot. a land where people could assimilate their cultures. we once believed that here, on this land, we could practice religion the way we chose, in our own manner and to which ever god we believed in. we deserved that freedom. is that still the case?

a pastor decides he wants to burn the Koran. the holy book of millions of people worldwide. because he wanted to ‘warn’ the radicals. what is truly sad to me is that his fear of other religions overrides the truth of the God he supposedly follows.


this nation continues to fight internally over political endeavors. blaming the ‘other side’ has become the normal way of life. republicans. democrats. tea party loyalists. the ‘one’ thing in common with them is that they blame everyone else. this is not how the system was supposed to work.

we are one?

even if the Koran was not burned does not mean that pastor altered his hatred of the Islamic faith. sadly he has missed the main message Jesus taught regarding others. this is not the idea Jesus had in mind when He said He was the way. He never said that hatred for others was a relevant part of being a Christian. quite the opposite actually. it is sad how little love has come from such a large group of people.

we are truly losing the battle we created for no particular reason. we demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down but we threaten to build our own. we claim democracy and unity is what the world needs. but we have created barriers within our own borders that make freedoms harder to come by. we send troops overseas to fight wars on foreign soil but we ignore the wars waging everyday here. the wars against the homeless, the addicts, the poor, the flood victims etc. etc. etc. we have lost sight of reality. we have become a people we fought against. we have become the oppressors of freedom instead the ‘beacon of light’ we dreamed of being.

we have become one | divided.

It’s What Separates Us From the Animals

If we don’t stand for something, what is it, don’t we fall for anything?

People die and we barely blink. War is tragic and it is senseless, but we say it’s a necessary evil to fight evil. Have we not become the monster we intended to destroy?  Bono asks…how long do we sing this song? How long?
It’s war, people die…that’s what we say…as if it makes it okay. Handing a mother a folded flag instead of allowing her to see her child grow into old age…that is not necessary…even if it is dignified.

Children are dying because we are looking the other direction. On purpose. People curl up and die on sidewalks, but we are concerned about suburbia, economic growth. What about keeping hearts beating? Generosity? Genuine concern? What have we become?

What is our gift?We have a soul, and we have a conscience.That is our gift.

It is what separates us from the rest of the animals.

God granted us that. For a reason.

When does humanitarianism count? Genuine care for each other? When did that become rare? Why do we praise people for actually caring about others? We give them awards and keys to the city. Why? Because it is rare. But it doesn’t have to be.
Are we not supposed to care about each other? It’s not just Christians banding with Christians. Jews with Jews. Muslims with Muslims. Blacks with Blacks. Whites with Whites. Rockers with Rockers. Rappers with Rappers. Hipsters with Hipsters. We are a “melting pot”.

Life is here. Heaven comes to earth. We should not wait until we reach heaven. Heaven on earth. Peace on earth. How dare we live just to survive?

There is a song that says, “this world is not my home, I am just a passerby”…is that what we are doing…just passing by? How many people do we “pass by” without a second glance…because we are on a higher calling?
Life is here. People should live. Here. Especially if we have the chance to keep them alive. Children should not die before they have a chance to live

This is what would separate us from the rest of the animals

like a parade.

let me start by saying… America is Beautiful.

We have better opportunities here than anywhere. I’m very proud to be an American… but. the other day i saw something that truly disgusted me.

at a large public gathering in a nearby lakeshore town, a woman was speaking about her trips to Honduras, working with young girls at what i presume to be an orphanage there. In order to illustrate the good works her and her teams have done over the years, she decided it would add value to her speech to bring a young Honduran girl, probably 16-17 years old, up with her in front of the crowd of hundreds.

like a parade.

the poor girl was brought in front of the crowd to hold a placard with pictures and stand silent while the lady told the crowd how once you go to another country like Honduras, you realize America is the greatest nation in the world (I believe America to be great, i also believe it was unnecessary to make this point while a Honduran citizen was in her presence). She spoke about how they had brought the girl here to teach her responsibility, get her U.S driver’s license, and teach her English. She was so proud of how much they had done for this girl and how they were hoping she would go back to Honduras to run the Home there. awesome. except…

what is the purpose of American-izing the girl?

yes we do have our way of doing things here that works for us. bringing someone out of their culture, teaching them another culture and then transplanting them back to their native culture is completely counter-productive. besides appearing arrogant about her own good deeds, it is so sad that this view is shared by so many Americans. (the Iraq War for example) we try so hard to spread our ideals around the world that we neglect the simplest of factors = our culture is not THEIR culture. we push our hopes, our dreams, our expectations to other regions of the world where the mindset, the desires are much different from our own.  even our religion is different, with our own American spin.

the message here is that despite our successes (and failures), as Americans it is not our duty to American-ize the world. it is not our right to decide what faith, government, ideals others around the world should believe in. What we have here works, it does not mean it should work globally.  yes, peace and prosperity should abound for everyone, but who decides how that should be applied? do we get to bring people out of their state of culture to teach them that we do it better than they do? I love the United States of America, but we are off base if we think that we have the right and obligation to ensure that everyone does as we do. at least… according to me…